FATA Reforms: PM - COAS take vital decisions
ISLAMABAD – The National Implementation Committee on FATA Reforms met here on Tuesday under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
The meeting was attended by Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Minister for SAFRON Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qadir Baloch, Minister for Law Zahid Hamid, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sartaj Aziz, Governor Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Iqbal Zafar Jhagra, Chief Minister KP Pervez Khattak and other senior civil and military officials.
The committee reviewed the progress on legal reforms and noted that a bill to extend the jurisdiction of High Court and Supreme Court to FATA has already been tabled in the National Assembly. It directed the law minister to expedite the passage of the bill through both houses of parliament and also initiate other legal and administrative measures so that the normal judicial system can be extended to FATA as early as possible and its people can enjoy the same fundamental and other rights that are available to people in the rest of Pakistan.
The committee also directed that all administrative actions to set up agency courts and to expand the capacity of various law enforcement agencies in FATA should be taken expeditiously in consultation with the superior judiciary.
The committee noted that a high-level committee has already been set up to prepare a 10-year plan for the socio-economic development of FATA. In this context, it directed the finance minister to seek, as a matter of priority, the endorsement of the National Finance Commission to the proposal to allocate a share from the divisible pool for FATA for the next 10 years.
Taking note of different viewpoints on FATA Reforms, the Committee carried out an in-depth review of the issues raised and concluded that there was widespread support for the merger of FATA with KP. However, many legal and administrative action will be required before this important reform can be given practical shape.
The task of repatriation of TDPs and their rehabilitation have been completed; the required administrative, law enforcement and security personnel are being deployed. Legal reforms have also been initiated. The committee will continue to review progress of these actions at its future meetings.
The committee observed that FATA Reforms involve four different dimensions i.e. political mainstreaming, legal mainstreaming, economic mainstreaming and security mainstreaming. These were interdependent and therefore have to be carefully planned and dovetailed. Each has its own administrative and financial implications.
Reforms efforts in the past have not been very successful because they did not adopt this holistic view of the process. The committee reiterated its commitment to continue working for implementation of the decision of the Federal Cabinet.